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Engineering Cellular Communication Systems for Synthetic Biology

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Title: Engineering Cellular Communication Systems for Synthetic Biology
Author(s): Kaya, Meryem Ecem
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Discipline: Biotechnology
Language: English
Acceptance year: 2019
Synthetic biology is an emerging interdisciplinary field of biology that aims to system-atically design artificial biological systems. As synthetic biologists seek increasingly complex control over cellular processes to achieve robust and predictable systems. A new frontier in synthetic biology is engineering synthetic microbial consortia. This ap-proach employs the concept of division of labor, instead of introducing large genetic cir-cuitry to homogenous cell populations. In this approach, different cell types are assigned to execute a portion of the overall circuit. Each cell type communicates with their co-worker subpopulations to complete the circuit. The main advantage of this strategy is the reduced metabolic burden on each cell type. Thus, leading to more reliable and stable overall performance. In this work, to simplify cellular communication between the mem-bers of the consortium, we used the simple architecture of quorum sensing machinery. We constructed a toolbox that contains promoter, receptor and quorum sensing signal synthase genes along with fluorescent reporters. Using this toolbox, we constructed dif-ferent cell types that can be used in synthetic consortia forming various communication topologies. We characterized the constructed cell types individually and in co-cultures.
Keyword(s): communication consortia quorum sensing synthetic biology

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